Research interests

  • Ecophysiology
  • Tree physiology (especially water-use and growth)
  • Forest ecology and forest dynamics
  • Wood anatomy
  • Dendroclimatology
  • Forest dynamics


Temperate forests are subjected to a trend of extreme events which has challenged trees with drought-induced water stress in recent years and will most likely continue to create an environment with new and more extreme conditions. Understanding how trees respond e.g., in their water-use and growth to such challenges is crucial in determining the impacts of environmental change on forest ecosystems. My work at the Physiological Plant Ecology group focuses on drought-acclimation mechanisms of temperate trees with a particular look on below-ground dynamics, growth and water-use. To quantify these dynamics, we are carrying out a long-term climate change experiment at the Swiss Canopy Crane II site in Hölstein (


Since 2022      PhD student in the Physiological Plant Ecology group, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland
2021 ­– 2022    Research assistant at the German Archaeological Institute, Berlin, Eurasia Department: Natural Sciences – Dendrochronology
2017 –2021     Master of Science in Global Change Geograpghy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
Thesis: Stomatal conductance and sap flow dynamics in the Northeastern German Lowlands
2013 – 2017    Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany and Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Thesis: Investigation of Quercus petraea Earlywood Vessels as Climate Proxy for the North German Lowlands
2009 – 2012    Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration at Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany


Balting DF, Michel S, Nagavciuc V, Helle G, Freund M, Schleser GH, Steger DN, Lohmann G, Ionita M. 2022. A past, present and future perspective on the European summer vapour pressure deficit. Earth System Science Data Discussion [preprint],

Hurley AG, Peters RL, Pappas C, Steger DN, Heinrich I. 2022. Addressing the need for interactive, efficient and reproducible data processing in ecology with the datacleanr R package. PLOS ONE 17(5): e0268426.

Grießinger J, Langhamer L, Schneider C, Saß BL, Steger DN, Skvarca P, Braun MH, Meier WJH, Srur AM, Hochreuther P. 2018. Imprints of climate signals in a 204-year δ18O tree-ring record of Nothofagus pumilio from Perito Moreno Glacier, Southern Patagonia (50°S). Frontiers in Earth Science 6: 27.

Weidemann SS, Sauter T, Kilian R, Steger DN, Butorovic N, Schneider C.2018. A 17-year record of meteorological observations across the Gran Campo Nevado ice cap in Southern Patagonia, Chile, related to synoptic weather types and climate modes. Frontiers in Earth Science 6: 53.








David N. Steger

University of Basel
Schönbeinstrasse 6
4056 Basel

Office No.: 01.001
061 207 35 13